MDUSD to Fully Fund High School Sports

May 21, 2014 · 77 comments

mdusd

The Mount Diablo Unified School District will once again fully fund high school sports, according to MDUSD Board Member Brian Lawrence.

The Board voted to fund high school athletics for the first time in several years, Lawrence said. District funding had gone away during a round of budget cuts, and a fantastic group of parents and community members created the United Mt. Diablo Athletic Foundation, and raised private funds over the last few years to support athletics. That was a heavy burden and now the District has stepped back in to provide funding, Lawrence said.

Funding will also be expanded to cover other sports that were not covered in the past, such as water polo and lacrosse.

1 TD May 21, 2014 at 1:42 PM

Great job MDUSD! Sports for everyone (except for CVCHS)!!

2 Thank goodness May 21, 2014 at 1:46 PM

UMDAF was great to fill the gap. Congratulations to the community for stepping up and bridging the shortfall.

3 Concord Mom May 21, 2014 at 1:49 PM

Great news!!

4 Marianne May 21, 2014 at 1:52 PM

Well done everyone! :-) Way to step up!

5 Clayton Squirrel May 21, 2014 at 2:15 PM

I heard that they did this instead of returning instrumental music to grades 4 and 5 which was a much smaller budget item. That is a shame. I wish that they would have returned music to at least 5th grade with their new funds.

6 Another PH Resident May 21, 2014 at 2:16 PM

Want to take a moment to thank the parents involved in UMDAF. My kids never played sports, but I recognize it’s importance to others.

Great job holding it together and so glad that MDUSD is putting the funding back in place.

Now, how about some funding effort for GATE and other extra curricular for the non-athlete/ESL/Special Ed crowd?

7 Sports or Music May 21, 2014 at 2:25 PM

If Clayton Squirrel is correct and the district chose to fund sports instead of music shame on them! Not ok Brian Lawrence!! Funding music would have been a much smaller cost and provided services to students that have completely ended. Sports have managed to continue without district funding. Music has not. Where are your priorities???

8 Tired of it. May 21, 2014 at 2:25 PM

Well this is good news, but let’s not forget to fund Libraries and Librarians. It is a shame that Middle and High schools don’t have fully staffed libraries open everyday for students. Also we need our music programs restored. We still have lots of work to do to build our schools up again.

9 Sports or Music May 21, 2014 at 2:27 PM

I may also add, one can easily assume you went with sports because it is the more popular option. The option that will ultimately be used I’m sure on your ballot statement when you run for re-election.

10 Donna Summersault May 21, 2014 at 2:34 PM

Oh, I’m sure they’ll still find a way for all of us parents to pay the ‘participation fee’.

What are the most feared words in Contra Costa County?
‘I’m from the MDUSD, and I’m here to help.’

11 Winston May 21, 2014 at 2:45 PM

Are high school sports the best thing for a school district with mediocre to poor academic performance to be spending its money on?

12 The Wizard of Viking Drive May 21, 2014 at 3:04 PM

YAY!

13 The Realist May 21, 2014 at 3:09 PM

Wow. Such generosity. Much curiousness … what are they trying to divert attention from / want to hide ? Very suspicious.

14 biggus thinkus May 21, 2014 at 3:10 PM

yeah, 6 of one, half dozen the other.
i’m really happy they got the sports funded, it includes a lot of kids in a great environment
alas, shame music and the arts and science are habitually neglected.

15 sportsfan May 21, 2014 at 3:20 PM

negative nannies with always find fault with something. Sports has been on back burners for a long time…I keep seeing fabulous kids coming to Concord High to play in their award winning bands so they must be getting trained somewhere.

16 Sherry Whitmarsh May 21, 2014 at 3:44 PM

For those asking about 4th&5th grade music.

I’ve had conversations with several board members and district staff. They want to bring it back but there are challenges. In the past this was a pull out method which was disruptive to the class and to the teacher. For example, 3 trumpet players leave at 1:00 for music and miss part of the social studies lesson. When they return at 1:30, 5 clarinet players leave and miss the math lesson. On days when there was a test, the band/orchestra students couldn’t attend the class because they had to finish the test. Teachers, admin, and staff are trying to figure out how to do this.

Also funding using local control funding formula (LCFF) to bring back cut items have to defined as how this will increase education. For high school sports, the education increase is that more students will stay in school to play sports. Also to play sports you must maintain a 2.0. This does work because I’ve seen students with a low GPA pull it up during their sport because they wanted to make sure they could play. Trying to tie elementary music to increased learning is more difficult. I know that music increases math scores but having to prove it to the state is another matter.

Finally there is the concern of AB1575 which states parents cannot be required to pay a fee or make a purchase for a class, etc. This means that the district cannot rent the instrument to parents as they did in the past. If there are 30 students at an elementary school who want to play the saxophone, how will the district fund the instruments and the reeds for the students?

I am confident that all parties will develop and proposal that will be successful and bring back elementary music in the next 1 -2 years.

17 Sherry Whitmarsh May 21, 2014 at 3:46 PM

For the concerns about science…may of the high schools used Measure C funds to update and/or build science classrooms. At Ygnacio Valley high school the entire science wing was modernized and a new chemistry building was added. Along with the classrooms, AP classes in biology and chemistry are offered next year.

18 CVHS All-American May 21, 2014 at 3:59 PM

Thank you for the explanation, Sherri. I never realized how selfish the band nerds were. I’m glad I avoided that social trap… instead I was the captain of a couple different varsity teams. I RULE!

19 cs May 21, 2014 at 4:07 PM

That’s great news! As a parent who pays close to $1k per year as well as donates hours of my personal time for my one high school student to have a positive sports experience during his high school career, this is wonderful. I wrote to all of the MDUSD board members, asking them to help support the sports programs again. And yes, my son is also in music, which is equally important. My time and money are well spent there, too!

20 PJ May 21, 2014 at 4:16 PM

Well CVCHS wanted to be on their own.

Good luck with that.

21 MDUSD Parent May 21, 2014 at 4:40 PM

Thanks for the explanation, Sherry. That makes sense. I hope they work out a way to restore elementary school music. Music was such as important part of my son’s life. I hate seeing other students miss out on such a good experience.

22 Anon2you May 21, 2014 at 4:46 PM

Everything the Administration give to you, they take from someone else. Glad you were able to fund your SPORTS MDUSD, but I wonder which children will suffer when they find that their favorite things are no longer in the budget. Arts and music I bet will be the sacrificial lambs…

23 Just Some Guy May 21, 2014 at 4:47 PM

That’s good news and it’s great to see Sherry here explaining some of the details around music.

Now, can we talk about getting GATE funded again? Shouldn’t that be a pretty easy explanation for how it will increase education?

24 Horse n around May 21, 2014 at 4:50 PM

@ #8 I totally understand about the libraries. But I was wondering, couldn’t parents just volunteer? I hate the fact that my kids have only 1 maybe 2 days a week for the library.

25 MDUSD Parent May 21, 2014 at 4:59 PM

That’s not true, Anon2you. There’s more money for education due to the improving economy and the tax increase the voters passed.

26 One Percenter May 21, 2014 at 5:03 PM

@ cs

Quit your bragging. You’re a parent of an underperforming athlete, band geek who lives in Concord… you’re not special. Instead of wasting your money having your child warm the bench, and waste your time writing thank you messages to the MDUSD board you should have just bought yourself a life.

27 CHS Music Parent May 21, 2014 at 6:05 PM

Here are some facts about the CHS music program. The budget for the enitre year, provided by the school district, is $1,000 for the overall program and $600 per year for instrument repair. There are approximately 125 students in the program which equates out to $8.00 per student for the entire year. The cost of the music program is 10 times that amount. In order to keep the band program running parents have been paying a participation fee of around $150 dollars for one class up to $225 for two or more classes; many of the students participate in more than one music class. The rest of the money for the program comes from fund raisers. Each year the band students participate in a 6 to 10 mile march-a-thon to help raise money for the program. Other fund raisers the students are directly involved with include: car washes, cookie dough sales, a dinner dance (where they perform), and two evening performances at Yoshi’s in Oakland. Parents work the Blue Devil’s Bingo Hall on Friday nights to help with the fundraising (1/2 of the money raised goes to the band program).

On top of all the performances and fund raising, these students are also excellent students. Most have above a 3.5 grade point average and are taking AP classes. So although sports are important, it is a sad state of affairs to think that MDUSD believes sports are so important that students only have to maintain a 2.0 GPA, while music programs that get little district funding and have no GPA requirement to participate have students taking AP courses and are excelling.

28 CHS Alumni May 21, 2014 at 6:29 PM

A a former graduate of the MDUSD school district, I can say from personal experience the increasing funds to sports becuase it improves students’ grade average is a highly over streched assumtion. A 2.0 requirement is low and most of the atheletes I saw in my classes or around campus seemed only to do enough to float by on a 2.0 or barely above. Not to say there aren’t students in the athletic programs that are not dedicanted to grades. A few I knew mantained over a 3.0 average on a year basis. However, if the entire arguement is that becuase the grade point requirement for sports keeps students grades up let us raise that average to where this arguement is vaild. If sports raise grades let’s see the minium for particapation at a 3.0. It is a constant shame; too, to see the music program and the arts overlooked year after year when it comes to funding.

29 MDUSD Student May 21, 2014 at 6:40 PM

I believe that this choice to restore funding to sports was ill-advised, especially when all the other potential programs are taken into account. The music programs in the MDUSD schools are far more deserving of this funding, in my opinion, than any of the other programs available. Firstly, I feel that this choice was made simply due the popularity of sports programs in schools. In comparing the two different programs, most people are far more familiar with sports programs, whereas some people at my school were ignorant of the fact that the school has a marching band.

In addition, the students in the music programs work much harder than the rest of their peers. While most sports seasons last 2-4 months, band has seasons lasting all year. Many of these musicians , including myself, are very dedicated to the programs and put in over 20 hours per week in practice alone, on top of all of our outstanding amounts of school work. Also, many of the music students are Honors students who also have AP classes. In contrast, many of the athletes I have met that are not involved in a music program seem to not be very dedicated to anything school related. Many of these athletes do not carry a 2.0 GPA unless it is their sport’s season, and I have had the “pleasure” of helping these athletes catch up in their work because several take almost every Monday off from school. This lack of dedication to school work has been happening for years, and it has been the burden of many music students to tutor these athletes so that they can make grades to compete. As an example, I’ve been tutoring the senior varsity football players by insistence from my teachers since I was a freshman, and I’m a junior now and am still tutoring varsity players.

Furthermore, when you think about the grand scheme of grade point averages, a 2.0 is a simple task. This grade point average allows for athletes to slack off, as they do, and rely on teacher generosity and peer tutoring to make grades for sports. After the season, many of these athletes give up on their grades. Within the music programs, there is no requirement for grades, but almost every one of us maintains above a 3.0, with the majority over 3.5. Schools could improve in the fundamental concept of education and standardized test scores by raising this low required GPA to something more reflective of academic excellence.

30 CVCHS Dad May 21, 2014 at 7:15 PM

Damn, nobody can ever accuse a band supporter of being succinct.

31 Doctor J May 21, 2014 at 7:15 PM

There was plenty of money to restore and fully fund music programs. Instead last week the Board restored $2.3 million in prior cuts, and previously gave out tens of millions in raises to administrators. Now the board has a proposal to “reorganize” Dent by giving new titles and more raises to administrators. What happened to putting the students first ? Ask your board members.

32 CHS student May 21, 2014 at 7:28 PM

ya know, it’s funny. shelly, you do have a point that sports students do try to keep at least a 2.0, however, realistically, they do not aspire for anything higher. you don’t hear about that one football or basketball player in 4 AP classes (closest you get is track or volleyball) trying to become a doctor for a good reason: THERE ARE NONE. who do you find in those classes? the music students. ASB president? flute player. Joke in the Physics honors class: “alright, how many of you are football players?” *Crickets* I’ve been to football games and saw that half of the varsity team doesn’t even play, and just stands there doing nothing. why am i picking on football? because they’re the ones who take up the absolute largest chunk of the budget. football players can get away with all Cs, but have you ever heard C-Grade music? ya, not pretty. the music program needs the budget to go to 4th and 5th grade music because all the middle schoolers who havent had them are being rushed to at the very least come close to par with those who have had the classes. also, for the matter of pulling students out of classes, it’s almost the same as being pulled out for speech therapy, it is not going to kill their grades. at worst it means having to take a test at a different point in time. even then, shelly, you speak as though teachers do not communicate with eachother, when in actuality the music teacher coordinates when the students leave class, as to avoid schedule mishaps. and if they miss a music class, it means they get to go home and practice– a good skill to learn early on. overall, music has a far greater need of the budget than sports (after all, how else will they afford 30 saxophones?)

33 Brian Lawrence May 21, 2014 at 7:52 PM

I am hopeful that we will be bringing back elementary music and more library hours plus other programs.

34 Rob May 21, 2014 at 8:27 PM

Glad to see that while US education is failing compared to the rest of the world we are making sure to find the funds for kids to play sports…

35 Anon May 21, 2014 at 8:29 PM

Sports in high school provide spirit, pride and a positive environment on many levels. There are rallies, pregame activities, and the games which all provide incentive for many students to strive for a better GPA. This also gives the band a stage to show their talent to their peers and also provide spirit, pride and a positive environment. There are far more students involved in sports year round which gives many students something constructive to do after school.

Why do some kids not realize there is a band at school? Perhaps it is because the band does not participate in the activities where their peers would actually see them. The band and cheerleaders should be at every rally, and all home games (stay to the end not after their half time show is complete), showing off their talent and being a huge part of their school’s spirit and pride. Somehow this has been lost at some local high schools.

36 Doctor J May 21, 2014 at 8:34 PM

@BrianLawrence. Me too. but when things are added on a piecemeal basis, it shows the priority. When it is done in a package deal, no one is slighted. With today’s announcement of up to a 10% reduction in school funding to pay for teacher retirement bailouts, all I see so far is administrator and staff raises and sports funding. How are you going to fund children’s programs ? http://www.latimes.com/local/education/la-me-schools-pensions-20140521-story.html

37 Sherry Whitmarsh May 21, 2014 at 8:38 PM

@CHS student

First my name is Sherry. Shelly is my sister. I’m not sure why this is an us vs. them. My daughters were involved in both and took AP and honor classes. My oldest played in the marching band and wind ensemble for four years and one year on the jazz band. She played varsity soccer for three years and club soccer all four years. She took advantage of as many AP and honors classes as she could. She graduated 3rd in her class and is doing very well in college. My youngest daughter, still in high school, has played in marching band and wind ensemble for three years. She has played two years varsity volleyball,three years varsity soccer, three years varsity lacrosse, and four yeas of club soccer. She is finishing AP Calculus her junior year in addition to two other AP classes. She has taken AP and honor classes last year. She is in the top 9% of her graduating class.

Why do I point this out? Because sports drives my youngest to do well. Music and sports are offered to allow each student to shine. Both teach students lifelong lessons. Both are needed in our schools.

38 Anon May 21, 2014 at 9:04 PM

Oh, horse n around, have you met the union?

39 Anon May 21, 2014 at 9:15 PM

@ CHS Student

You need to check your facts before posting. There are current and past football players at your very own school who have 4.0+ GPA and taking AP classes.

Your sentence structure, capitalization, and punctuation have a lot to be desired.

40 YV alumni May 21, 2014 at 9:40 PM

@CHS student

I graduated with Mrs. Whitmarsh’s oldest daughter and everything she said is true. I also took as many AP & Honors classes as I could my Junior and Senior year and a majority of the motivation I got was through playing sports. Junior year I had a 4.0 during my sports season and had a couple teammates who got higher GPAs than me while others also did really well, due in large part to the motivation we had through our BASKETBALL program. So, it’s great to see sports are being funded again. I remember as a freshman @ Northgate all students, parents and teachers were completely shocked because we didn’t believe they would actually stop funding sports.

Having played an instrument in elementary school I also am very much in favor of funding to go back towards that as well. Although an athlete my entire life, that was a very unique and challenging experience that I still look back on to this day. It challenged me mentally in many ways that sports never could.

41 @Doctor J May 21, 2014 at 10:49 PM

Doctor J, Sherry Whitmarsh posted a very logical explanation for why the district is still figuring out how to bring back elementary school music. They’re bringing back programs to benefit the children as soon as they can. Saying we won’t bring anything back until we can bring back everything because we wouldn’t want anyone to feel slighted would be just plain stupid.

Why do you always have to find something negative to say about everything the district does? Even when it obviously benefits students? I feel sorry for you. What a miserable life you must lead.

42 Bellarium May 21, 2014 at 11:11 PM

Yay, that is great news. There will be more students able to try out for teams so coaches can pick the best of the best. These kids will want to be on a team that is good forcing them to get good grades to stay on the team. I’m no expert but it seems like Sporting events are great fundraisers in themselves. The better your team is the more people attend games which will bring in more people which equals more money. Hopefully they can use these funds to help fund other things.

43 Teacher Wannabe May 21, 2014 at 11:16 PM

Great, now put some money into programs proven to increase academic performance,. Arts in particular, music specifically.

44 Doctor J May 21, 2014 at 11:21 PM

@41. I liked Sherry’s comment so much I asked her to post it on the CCT blog and she did. I don’t know why you jump to wrong conclusions so fast.

45 Anon 2 May 22, 2014 at 12:13 AM

Sherry Whitmarsh hit the nail on the head when she said there were problems with instrumental music at the elementary level. Being a pull out program is difficult for both students and teachers. Students were gone at different times throughout the week, depending upon the instrument. You could be in the middle of a lesson and five students have to leave. They would be expected to find out what the missed – of course some did and some didn’t, which put those children further behind. If a child wanted to stay for the lesson being presented, or was absent, the music teacher would call the room to see where that child was, further disrupting the class.

46 Dr. Jellyfinger® May 22, 2014 at 12:18 AM

Just to be perfectly clear….. I am not to be confused with Doctor J. Similar name, ( pathetic copy / hero worship ) but I would never be posting anything, concerning anything, as mundane as children’s education.

47 Just Some Guy May 22, 2014 at 3:39 AM

I feel like i’m Ben Stein in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

Bueller. Bueller. Bueller.

GATE funding? GATE funding? GATE funding?

48 Antler May 22, 2014 at 4:00 AM

CHS Music parent at 27…… Thank you.

And at elementary school, parents should be able to choose among having free recess, art, or music classes during the longest recess of the day. They know (and/or should be responsible for) whether their children get adequate physical exercise at home.

Middle school students should have the option of music or art for a regular class session….or as used to be the case…the sessions are either before or after school.

The school system does not have to provide instruments. Music stores rent those out. It seems that some on the board are creating false barrier problems for both art and music! And if private groups created athletic leagues, let them continue! Our family was a part of the support network which years ago kept Concord Athletic League going…..worked beautifully!

49 Teacher Wannabe May 22, 2014 at 6:06 AM

Sports has its place, but as others have mentioned, sports survives regardless, other programs seem to have to fight for every penny (music, Spec. ED, etc).

50 Caitie May 22, 2014 at 6:16 AM

Fully funded is somewhat misleading. If you look at the breakdown of how funds will be distributed to each program what the district is covering will not completely cover the cost to run the programs. This is not a complaint of what funds will be directed at sports but a point of clarification of the “fully funded” wording. An example of this is in the number of Coaches being covered. Many sports site 1 or 2 coaches, while in reality there maybe 3 – 5 coaches necessary to facilitate the sport. Funding levels were restored to the 2008-2009 level with the addition of Water Polo and Lacrosse making the funds available spread even thinner. Sports programs will continue to need donations and fundraisers to make them viable and cover the cost. Again, this is not a complaint just a point of clarification. I have students highly involved in both Music and Sports and am very supportive of refunding music as well.

51 Horse n around May 22, 2014 at 8:22 AM

@ Anon. Really? They have a union? I just thought some of the parents could volunteer some time. I hear a lot of kids say they needed to go to the library but it’s only open 1-2 days a week. I just thought as a parent I would volunteer.

52 cornfed May 22, 2014 at 8:35 AM

Once again this all misses the point. There are too damned many people. Our school systems are buried and cannot pay for the things they used to. I went to public school, played sports (including football) from 7th grade on, was in 5th and 6th grade band, and never paid a dime out of pocket except to buy an alto sax. But of course I went to a high school with 500 kids. At one time, we had 80 of those kids in high school band, including football players who marched at halftime in their football pants. When is the last time you saw that?

Yes my friends, there is something rotten in Denmark, it’s called overpopulation. And what is our answer? More urbanization.

53 Doctor J May 22, 2014 at 8:36 AM

@Antler 48, schools cannot offer classes that require a student to buy or rent essential materials for the class. CDE sums it up pretty well in this fiscal advisory. http://www.cde.ca.gov/re/lr/fm/fma1202.asp

54 Clayton Squirrel May 22, 2014 at 8:46 AM

Instrumental music at the elementary school level was an awesome thing. I’m so glad that my kids made it through elementary school years when the music and GATE programs were still intact. Those made a world of difference in my children’s lives.

There are thousands of other public schools offering elementary age music education. MDUSD does not need to reinvent the wheel if they don’t like the pull out program for music lessons. I suggest that they copy a model from another district that they think would better suit our kids needs.

At MDE we used to have Mr. Kaiser pull out trumpets at one time, then saxophones, etc. I think he may have rotated days or times so kids didn’t constantly miss the same subject. It wasn’t perfect but I was so grateful for the horn lessons. At the time I was also paying $60 an hour for the kids to have piano lessons, so I really valued the horn lessons at school. One kid ended up in middle school MDUSD honor band for three years straight and other kid ended up taking a piano class one summer at Stanford along with Physics and International Relations. Music is a very good thing and actually causes a part of the kid’s brain to visibly grow.

55 Anon May 22, 2014 at 8:48 AM

Yes, Horse n Around. The librarians are teachers, therefore they are members of the union. When the district cut the Instructional Media Assistants, and Librarian hours, the librarians made it crystal clear that NO parents would be allowed to step in and help.

56 Clayton Squirrel May 22, 2014 at 8:54 AM

I disagree that the schools would have to have enough instruments for every kid. Many students will want to buy their own even if not required. The number of instruments that the school will need to provide will be smaller than the number of students playing. Many schools have many brass instruments already sitting in boxes on high shelves. I hope that the elementary schools have not just given them all away and if they did, I hope that the middle schools and high schools will loan some back.

Also, if MDUSD brings back elementary music you can bet that there are many of us just waiting to donate those student trumpets to a good cause. We would be so happy.

57 Antler May 22, 2014 at 9:14 AM

Doctor J at #53 …… Then that stipulation is the rotten egg in the barrel! The schools surely are requiring students to pay for their own pencils and other supplies, etc.! Fund raisers can be initiated to provide financial aid for poor students who want to play an instrument but do not have enough money to rent.

In what year was this ridiculous stipulation initiated? And what person or group instigated the change in policy to the school board, please? What school board members favored it? Are they still on the board? Voters and parents would like to know!

58 Doctor J May 22, 2014 at 9:36 AM

@Antler 57, funding supplies is squarely on the shoulders of the School Board. See Ed Code
“38118. Writing and drawing paper, pens, inks, blackboards,
blackboard erasers, crayons, lead pencils, and other necessary
supplies for the use of the schools, shall be furnished under
direction of the governing boards of the school districts.”

59 claycordian May 22, 2014 at 9:36 AM

Dear Anon #55 –

The California Education Code States that libraries must be staffed by fully qualified Library Media Specialists. Librarians must have a teaching credential AND a Masters Degree in Library Media Science. Not allowing parents to staff libraries had nothing to do with the union or the librarians.

60 Bishop Estates May 22, 2014 at 9:38 AM

Everyone has strong opinions on Sports and Music, both are fantastic for kids. As a parent to a child who played sports and a child who is in the CHS music program, both are worthy of funding and all kids who want to should be able to participate. Just a sad state of affairs that there has to be a “choice” made as to which one is deemed more worthy.

61 Doctor J May 22, 2014 at 9:50 AM

PS to Antler. In response to your questions about when enacted, see the footnotes on the Advisory. The basic history of the California right to a free education was reviewed by the California Supreme Court in the 1984 Hartzel case and you can google it to read it. In 2012, AB 1575 was passed, effective Jan 1, 2013 that gave rights to all to enforce the right to a free education through the Uniform Complaint procedure, with CDE enforcing it by appeals, including ordering refunds to ALL affected pupils, not just those who complain. An article appeared in the Sacramento Bee front page a few weeks ago. The CCT blog lists several of the Uniform Complaints now pending in MDUSD filed by a Sally Smith, an attorney and school activist. Those complaints could cost MDUSD tens of thousands of dollars in refunds. take a look.

62 Jojo Potato May 22, 2014 at 10:07 AM

@antler : in 2010 the ACLU filed suit against the state over the issue of fees for students in public schools. The state constitution guarantees free schooling. At that time schools were charging for all kinds of things, not just “extras” like sports or music as a way to make up their budget deficits. The end result of that suit was a settlement with the state and the passage of AB1575. So here we are. As happens so often in our government, the officials had latched onto fees as a way to get more money and kept increasing them until someone said stop. Schools still sneak through many fees under the guise of requirements for certain classes. Like requiring a TI89 calculator for AP math. BTW, allowing for waivers for poor students is not allowed under the current law.

I guess it’s all part of the descent to bottom. If one student can’t afford a protractor then no one can have one. Is that what we want? I don’t.

63 Sherry Whitmarsh May 22, 2014 at 10:22 AM

@Antler #57

AB1575 is a state law that passed about 4-5 years ago. It focuses on a free public education. It prohibits mandatory fees for school related activities or supplies . It means that request for donations can be made but not tracked. If a student doesn’t contribute you can’t deny them the opportunity to participate. You can’t track you has donated and who has not. Yes it does apply to school supplies also. Fundraising can be done but at many of our Title 1 schools fundraising is extremely difficult. Cookie dough, gift wrap, restaurants, etc are not things that fit into someone’s budget who is at it below poverty.

64 If the district had been May 22, 2014 at 10:24 AM

managed by honest and publicly accountable board members, the reductions would have never been enacted in the first place. Former Board Members mismanaged the district and were corrupt.

The district needs to be dismantled and reorganized with all new people who can be held accountable to the community rather than personal greed.

The corruption of past management still plagues the district. That is the festering infection that needs to be cut out.

65 Anon May 22, 2014 at 11:52 AM

@Claycordian,
Yes, I am aware of those stipulations. Parents wanted to volunteer to just re-shelve the returned books, so the librarian could spend more time with students. It was a loud and clear “NO”. I am sure that a good librarian, like any good teacher is an asset to their school. Unfortunately, I have seen those who may just as well have been teenaged babysitters. Just sitting there, showing videos (non educational), yelling at kids for just about anything and everything.

66 Refund Center May 22, 2014 at 1:13 PM

I want my four-year out-of-pocket funding for my kids’ participation refunded now that funds are available…good riddance to coach fees, bus fees, uniform fees, have a kid interested in sports fees, equipment fees, snack fees, end of year gift fees, don’t even think about signing up fees….way to fund the fun MDUSD.

67 Antler May 22, 2014 at 2:03 PM

Thank you to all who provided me with specific input. I knew blooming well that younger friends were telling me about their children bringing home printed (at the district’s expense?) requests for supplies ….. and or for money so that the teacher could buy supplies.

But I still remain outraged that the sports sector was given carte blanche access to the funding! It is the children and society as a whole who will suffer if the creative arts disciplines are not taught.

68 Former CVHS Parent May 22, 2014 at 3:03 PM

Oh good grief, #64. The school had to make cuts because the state reduced the amount of funding it was giving to school districts. The state had to cut funding because of decreased tax revenue due to the recession and housing bust. Our school board did a good job under very difficult circumstances. Our school board members are held accountable by the voters. We vote them into office and we can vote them out of office.

69 Anon May 22, 2014 at 3:42 PM

Music was never cut at the high school level. I am not sure about the middle school level, but it was definitely cut at the elementary level. Yes, high school music programs are underfunded, but high school music has also evolved to more than playing at school events. Not sure the District can afford what is now considered “Band” in high school. Same for cheerleading – with fees way over $250 per cheerleader for just a uniform, plus competitions outside of school events. I understand if they are “Club” there are different rules, but not sure how that all works with the new laws referenced above.

Sports were cut from middle schools years, and years ago, around Prop 13 passage in the 70’s. Parents now pay for their kids to participate at younger ages through Little League, Pop Warner Football, AYSO, CYO, etc. Perhaps music could take the same course and have private bands for younger, interested, students, like a Junior Blue Devil group.

I do want sports, music, art, woodshop, auto shop and other options for other fields of employment for all students brought back to the schools. Not all students fit the college mold and that is okay, there are good paying jobs that require a different education than college.

Let’s take a deep breath and be thankful some of the funding is going back to the students and not just to administrators. Everyone should be looking at the reorg going on at the District offices. I’m not convinced it is truly streamling and saving dollars to help put more money back to the students. The District is deciding where the money goes, it’s time for everyone to get involved in that area NOW and know what it going on and where they are planning to spend the money for students.

70 Chorus Rocks! May 22, 2014 at 6:08 PM

In elementary school, we DO have music. I know at our school, our music teacher uses song flutes, xylophones, drums and other instruments to provide a well rounded program for each student. We also have a guitar program and NOW an amazing 90 kid chorus! It just took a couple teachers with a passion for music to join forces and go for it! Also, I would like to specifically thank the Whitmarsh family for also serving on the Music Educators Association. This group has provided our chorus with performance opportunities including an opportunity to earn money by working at the Concord High Carnival. It takes a village and although I would LOVE all kids to have access to instrumental music, there are many needs that need to be taken care of in our classrooms. Because of the inability for us to ask for money and ultimately, the need for us to now pay for those things we shouldn’t have expected, we have to be creative and reach out to create a community of music teachers, lovers and supporters.

71 Teacher Wannabe May 22, 2014 at 11:59 PM

Trumpet! Everything else is accompaniment. JK, band rocks!

72 cs May 23, 2014 at 10:38 AM

@ One Percenter (comment 26):
You’re not even close, but thanks for taking the time to read my comment & reply :) Nice try.

73 anon May 23, 2014 at 9:16 PM

@Sherry Whitmarsh,
Athletic Directors at high school’s just fix the athletes truancies to make it look like they go to all their classes.

74 Mount Mom May 24, 2014 at 7:35 AM

I have a Freshman and a Junior at MDHS who participate in both band and athletics while maintaining 3.5 or higher GPA’s. I don’t think my boys are the standard but find it impossible believe they are the only students achieving at that level. As a parent I am grateful that I won’t be rushing out the door at 6 am on Thanksgiving for the Turkey Trot or spending our entire Memorial Day working at Kidsfest. I am sure this will ruffle some artistic feathers but my eldest has yet to be “scouted” by any colleges for his musical ability. My freshman has had a few scout visits for sports already. My goal is raising well rounded children but sports seem the likely ticket to college.

75 Well.. May 24, 2014 at 9:50 AM

I am not going to read the comments but will add to them.

I was in band from 4th grade thru high school. The school did not provide and instrument. We rented from a local music store and paid for all our own repairs. I believe we were pulled out of class for practice maybe one day a week. Maybe two.

In junior high and high school, band was an actual class ( elective) and did not require to leave any class for practice.

In high school, the band members and parents worked the bingo every friday night to earn money since band was not supported by the school. All the band members were smart kids. Very few instruments were supplied by the high school.

We did the march-a-thon, bingo, and sold tickets to the carnival for fundraising.

I believe that funding should be split evenly between sports, band, and the choir.

I do believe that any band/ sports kid should be forced to maintain a 3.0 or higher GPA. 2.0 for sports? That should not be allowed.

76 Clayton Squirrel May 24, 2014 at 10:11 AM

To Mount Mom:

I know many student athletes who play for college teams and don’t receive scholarshipsi. Even kids who are recruited to play. Zero athletic scholarships are offered at my son’s school. I believe, though, that my daughter’s teammate is receiving a scholarship to play soccer in college, and there are other athletic scholarships, of course.

I know several very good college aged musicians, however, who are receiving full rides or partial scholarships based on their musical talent and grades. You just never know.

My son managed to play on varsity teams and play in the band all four years at public high school. Both programs are important but music is what I really want to see returned to the elementary schools.

77 Mount Mom May 25, 2014 at 2:25 PM

To Clayton Squirrel-
I wasn’t necessarily referring to scholarships. The admission process itself quite competitive. I’m sure that talent either way helps you get your foot in the door.

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